Australian flexible packaging major Amcor has announced the commissioning of its seventh manufacturing plant in India in Bharuch, Gujarat. The plant is dedicated to the packaging needs of Hindustan Unilever’s laundry products in India. As part of a seven-year agreement with Hindustan Unilever signed in 2017, Amcor made a substantial investment to build and equip the state-of-the-art Bharuch plant. The plant started operating this week after an official ceremonial event in October with executives from both companies.
“We are the third biggest flexible packaging solutions provider in India and this plant will increase Amcor’s capacity in the country by another 40%. This is a very huge site from the capacity perspective. In terms of technology this plant is equipped with wide web flexo printing technology. This is the first time Amcor has gone for flexo technology in India,” Roy Joseph, vice president and general manager, Amcor Flexibles India told Packaging South Asia. He, however, declined to disclose what Amcor India’s current capacity.
The 8,000-square-meter plant has three lines that will run 24 hours a day, producing flexible packaging using flexo technology. From initial employment of 50 people, Amcor anticipates the team in Bharuch to grow to 180 by December 2019. In addition to the Bharuch plant, Amcor operates six other plants at Haridwar, Sitarganj, Chakan, Puducherry, Pune, and Cuddalore. Among these seven manufacturing sites, Haridwar, Sitarganj, Chakan, Puducherry and Bharuch plants produce flexible packaging solutions. The Chakan plant is dedicated solely to manufacturing of flexible packaging solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. The Pune plant manufactures rigid packaging solutions while the Cuddalore plant is dedicated to cylinder manufacturing.
In terms of customers, Amcor India services pharmaceutical, food, beverages, home and personal care (HPC) segments.
Unilever and Amcor have both committed to make all their packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, to increase the use of recycled content in plastic packaging.
According to Joseph, the Bharuch plant is one example of Amcor’s broad, global environmental program as adoption of flexo printing technology will mean it can support substrates that can be recycled. “So, this fits very well into our sustainability pledge,” Joseph added.
Amcor’s vast experience in working with wide web flexo technology at its other sites outside India came in handy while setting up the Bharuch plant. “Support from members of Amcor’s global team played a very important role,” Joseph said.
Until the Bharuch plant came online, all other Amcor’s plants in India were utilizing rotogravure printing technology.
Growth in Indian flexible packaging market to continue
India’s packaging market, especially the flexible packaging segment, has seen double-digit growth in recent years. A number of global packaging solutions providers have acquired assets and companies in India, including Amcor. Joseph believes the growth trend will continue because of growing consumption, formalization of retail business and shift from rigid to flexible packaging.
“Yes, the growth that we have seen in recent past will continue. As for global players acquiring Indian entities, I believe these companies will become very selective about the assets they acquire,” Joseph concluded.